Moss grows without roots.
These are the words that allow Victoria Jones in Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s stunning new novel, The Language of Flowers, to trust that in spite of her broken past she can in fact come to love the daughter she doesn’t want.
With no family and a history of trouble behind her, Victoria has felt unworthy all her life. Flowers are the one constant that sustain her through an early childhood of neglect, followed by the uneasy joy of landing with a woman who loves her as if she were her own, followed by even harder years in and out of shelters.
“If it was true that moss did not have roots, and maternal love could grow spontaneously, as if from nothing, perhaps I had been wrong to believe myself unfit to raise my daughter. Perhaps the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved, could grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.”
Seldom do I blog about books, but this one warrants a write-up not only for the beautiful prose, but for the way it transported me deep into the sensuous world of flowers and the hidden possibilities they hold. Like so much in life, if only we peer closely enough, we can really see.
A few highlights from Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers:
Baby’s Breath (Gypsophilia paniculata)…Everlasting love
Clover, white (Trifolium)…Think of me
Jonquil (Narcissus jonquilla)…Desire
Periwinkle (Vinca minor)…Tender recollections
Poplar, white (Populus alba)…Time
Phlox (Phlox)…Our souls are united
Verbena (Verbena)…Pray for me
Zinnia (Zinnia)…I mourn your absence
Victoria Jones might be a fictional character but she’s given me an unforgettable bouquet of poetry that will dance in my dreams. And for that, I thank her.
Periwinkle: What is it that you remember?